CHICAGO, IL – Nurses play a critical role in reducing the risk of medical errors; however, too often you hear nurses complain of constant stress, fatigue, and being overworked.
A study from Houston showed 77% of nurses reported having irregular diet patterns and they didn’t get enough sleep. Some even reported having to take medications during the day to stay awake. This is alarming since nurses are being forced to work long hours which puts the safety of a patient or resident at risk.
Why are Nurses Burnt Out?
Nurses frequently work 12-hour shifts. Different hospitals have different rules and cultures, and some may not provide adequate breaks during a long shift. Nurses tend to pick up extra shifts and not get enough rest in between. While working overtime can be beneficial for the hospital and nurse, it could be dangerous for patients who may not be receiving the highest level of care.
Additionally, a nurse could have too many patients to care for in one day and not be able to pay enough attention to each patient as they should. Nurses can also suffer from emotional exhaustion, especially if they are working in a traumatic setting, such as a pediatric oncology wing or hospice wing.
Types of Mistakes Fatigues Nurses Can Make
Fatigue can lead to emotional, cognitive, and physical problems for nurses. Overworked nurses may not be able to focus, become irritable, headaches, drowsiness, impaired decision-making, confusion, and depression. These symptoms may lead to harmful mistakes such as:
- Administering the wrong medication
- Administering the wrong dosage of medication
- Failing to contact a doctor in an emergency
- Failing to recognize an emergency
- Not attending to a patient’s nutritional or hydration needs
While some errors may be seemingly small, they could be life-threatening to a patient. For example, if a patient mistakenly receives too much medicine, they could overdose which could lead to brain damage or even death.
Are Underpaid Nurses a Cause of Worry?
Apart from physical conditions, work conditions did not seem to motivate nursing staff. According to the survey, 75% of nurses reported they simply didn’t enjoy the authority they needed in the workplace while 89% were not able to delegate tasks efficiently due to understaffing. Other complaints among nurses included unmotivated colleagues and a complete lack of coordination and teamwork in the facility. Many nurses claimed the lack of respect and consideration by the hospital administration.
According to a survey, only 16% of nurses agreed that they are fairly paid for the work they do.
An article published by PMC, NCBI discusses the workload that causes nurses to miss changes in their patients’ conditions. Nurses are often forced to work in risky conditions, which could ultimately cause them to lose their license.
Though salaries are an issue for nurses, proper medical facilities and adequate staff for patients play a key role, the death percentage of a patient rises 40% in cases of overworked nurses.
What Can be Done to Improve the Healthcare System?
Salary does play an important role, but this is not always the case. A nurse that’s forced to work under highly stressful conditions cannot be given any amount of money that could lead them to save a patient’s life. The system as a whole needs to create an ecosystem where nurses don’t feel they are failing or being forced to do a particular job.
The quality of nurses is directly is linked to patient safety at a hospital. Everyone needs a break at some point. At a place where vulnerable lives are at stake, a short break becomes necessary.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Chicago, Illinois
No one should suffer at the hands of a negligent medical healthcare provider. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys of Dinizulu Law Group uphold justice for victims of serious medical mistakes. Our firm can be reached at (312) 384-1920 for a free consultation or by visiting our website for more information.